Friday, February 10, 2012

A Long Ski and Parmesan Crackers

We were out fishing last weekend in the boundary waters. This year has been great for fishing because the snow isn't too deep. Normally we're hindered by either unplowed roads to the entry points or snow so deep the going is really slow.

We brought our neighbors along for the day. They brought their skis because they are planning to ski the Birkebeiner ski race and wanted to do a practice run. At around 2:00 they left us and headed out to ski home. They had to break trail most of the way and made it home in about six hours. They went through Jackfish, Pipestone, Newton, and Fall Lakes (for those of you who have maps and know these waters). Part of the way was after dark, but the moon has been so bright that they were almost able to read the map by moonlight. They had a pack with a first aid kit, compass, map, extra mittens, matches, food, and water.

I had some hot fish chowder and rosemary focaccia bread waiting for them when they knocked on the door to let us know they were home and safe.

Tansy was acting a little funny and I wondered what her issue was. I finally figured out that she was guarding the grill because she wanted to lick the grates and didn't want anyone else to get to it first. She kept herding us away from the grill area. Little stinker.

I made these "crackers" the other day for a pot-luck. They are a savory cracker that are fantastic as a little appetizer nibble with cocktails. You can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to slice them and bake them. You can also freeze the log and slice and bake as needed. So handy! You can switch the type of cheese and herb (try an aged cheddar, try fresh thyme, etc.).

Rosemary Parmesan Crackers

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Use your electric mixer to cream the butter for a minute. Add the parmesan, rosemary, salt, and pepper and combine. Add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon or so of water.

Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for up to 4 days (or freeze if you don't plan to bake it soon).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 3/8-inch-thick rounds and place them on a sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool and serve at room temperature.

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